Chris Jones drops 16 points as Valencia rocks Zalgirio Arena

2023-10-27T20:49:52+00:00 2023-10-27T21:19:06+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

27/Oct/23 20:49

Besides never trailing, Valencia peaks at a 29-point lead and stays over 20 points for large stretches in Kaunas

By Eurohoops Team/

An impressive display behind a brilliant effort in defense for Valencia on the road.

The Spanish club was comfortable in defeating Zalgiris, 87-72, in Round 5 of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season.


Chris Jones paved the way with 16 points, four assists, two rebounds, and two steals on Wednesday. The 30-year-old point guard made 6/8 field goals, including 2/2 triples. “Coach gave us a great game plan. We went out and executed,” he explained, “Defense was the biggest part. Getting stops and getting into transition and running. Kind of draining the crowd a little bit.”

Brandon Davies returning to the home of his first EuroLeague team and reuniting with numerous former teammates, drew up 11 points. Nate Reuvers added 11 more points. Senegalese center Boubacar Toure threw in nine points, seven rebounds, and one steal.

Stefan Jovic draining a midcourt buzzer-beater, his lone shot of the night, completed a dominating first half with a 22-point cushion. The 52 points matched the team-high for the most points in the first half. The lead peaked at 29 points midway through the third period, preventing any significant threat the rest of the way.

“They were playing at home in a full gym. For sure they would be coming back,” head coach Alex Mumbru commented on keeping the Lithuanian champions in a safe distance, “I think we played tough defense in these moments. We played seriously. We found our options in offense.”

Don’t look now, but his side is 4-1 in Europe’s premier club continental competitions, apart from carrying a 5-1 record in Spain’s Liga Endesa, the top domestic league of the continent. “It is a long season,” replied Mumbru, “We need to continue.”

More good news, Jared Harper (shoulder) was back in action with 13 points and 4/7 field goals after missing three weeks. “I felt fresh. I am glad my teammates allowed me to get a rhythm,” said the former Auburn standout.

“A nightmare for us”

Falling to 3-2 with the first loss of the young season in Zalgirio Arena, Keenan Evans managed to continue a solid campaign so far with 18 points plus four rebounds, three steals, and three assists. Rolands Smits had 11 points, six rebounds, and two assists.

“A little bit of everything,” Kazys Maksvytis responded to what his side was lacking, “First of all physicality. Focus. We did not start the game well and gave them confidence. Then we did not have options to win. This game was like a nightmare for us.”

Reserve forward/center Danielius Lavrinovicius (ankle) was a late scratch for the hosts. For the visitors, Xabi Lopez-Arostegui (left foot) and Martin Hermannsson (left knee surgery) stayed in Valencia along with Guillem Ferrando.

Home games ahead for Zalgiris and Valencia

Seeking a 7-0 start in defending Lithuania’s Betsafe LKL championship, Zalgiris will play at home versus 7bet-Lietkabelis on Sunday. The next EuroLeague challenge sends LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne to Kaunas on Thursday.

Returning to La Fonteta, the Oranges will face FC Barcelona in Round 7 of Spain’s Liga Endesa on Sunday and ALBA Berlin in the EuroLeague’s Round 6 on Thursday.

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